VC Debt
Shayna Modarresi, Runway Growth Capital

Venture debt lender Runway Growth Capital said it has hired early-stage venture investor Shayna Modarresi as a managing director, another indicator of how the venture debt market is surging.

Modarresi comes to Runway after having founded Lodestar Ventures, a San Francisco-based seed-stage investor that targets tech companies focused on what it calls “lifestyle efficiencies.” Among the firm’s portfolio companies is Queenly, which operates a marketplace and search engine for the formal wear industry and which came out of Y Combinator and last month raised $2.3 million in seed funding.

Modarresi started at Runway last week and will focus on investments in the West Coast tech sector for the firm, which was founded more than five years ago. She will be based in Runway’s Woodside, California office and report to managing director Mark Donnelly.

Donnelly noted that Modarresi’s experience and relationships from years of working in Silicon Valley, along with her deep understanding of SaaS, enterprise, social and consumer tech, makes her a valuable add on the team.

Prior to Lodestar, Modarresi served as an investment advisor to Correlation Ventures, where she sourced tech deals in the early and growth stages. She was also a partner at XG Ventures. Early in her career, she was was with the placement agent Probitas Partners, where she helped raise more institutional capital for such firms as Scale Venture Partners, BCE Ventures and IDG Ventures.

Runway founder and chief executive David Spreng, who himself transitioned from venture capital to lending years ago, described Modarresi as a high-energy investor who was already on the firm’s radar. Modarresi was named a Woman of Influence in Venture Capital by the Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2014, and she was one of the featured investors in the book The Intelligent Investor: Silicon Valley, which came out last year.

“She knows the playing field well,” Spreng said. “And she’s joining us as we’re continuing to see venture debt grow. It’s still a fraction of overall venture equity, but it’s growing.”

In late March, PitchBook reported that venture debt has outpaced the broader VC market, as the US venture debt industry has grown from about $4.3 billion in size in 2010 to about $27.5 billion in 2020. PitchBook reported that debt deals grew at a pace of 3.1x over the last decade, in comparison to 2.2x for venture deals over the same period.